Rock Island Auction Company
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Lot 108: Cased Set of Engraved Smith & Wesson New Model No. 3 Revolvers

Auction Date: September 10, 2021

Superb Cased Pair of Rare Consecutively Serialized Oscar Young Factory Exhibition Deluxe Engraved Smith & Wesson New Model No. 3 Target Revolvers with Pearl Grips, Extra Barrel and Factory Letters Presented to Two Identified New York Competition Target Shooters Including New York Police Officer William Petty

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $30,000 - $40,000

A) Smith & Wesson New Model No. 3 Target Revolver

Manufacturer: Smith & Wesson
Model: New Model No 3
Type: Revolver
Gauge: 44 S&W Russian
Barrel: 6 1/2 inch solid rib
Finish: blue
Grip: pearl
Stock:
Item Views: 726
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 93
Class: Antique
Description:

This rare consecutively serialized matched presentation cased set of S&W New Model No. 3 Target Revolvers feature Oscar Young, factory deluxe, exhibition quality floral scroll engraving on a stippled background along with zig-zag line motifs, and were first presented to turn of the century competition target shooter and New York City police officer William E. Petty and then later presented by Petty to the president of the Rifle and Revolver Club of New York. Each revolver comes with a factory letter stating that this special order consecutively numbered pair was shipped on November 4, 1897 and delivered to M.W. Robinson Co. of New York City. At the time of shipment the revolvers had a 6 1/2 inch barrel, blue finish and checkered wood grips. The deeply chiseled scrollwork and motifs are the factory exhibition quality work of Master Engraver Oscar Young, and in the factory letters S&W historian Roy Jinks concludes that the, pearl grips and case were likely supplied by M.W. Robinson. The extra 8 inch barrel in .44 S&W Russian is engraved to match and is also numbered to "A". The revolvers have target sights, pearl grips, one-line barrel rib address marking, and respective matching serial numbers on the butt, cylinder, and barrel. The barrel latch on "A" is numbered to a different gun, and the barrel latch on "B" is not numbered. The accompanying letter written by noted S&W collector Dr. Gerald Klaz to S&W historian Roy Jinks states this set belonged to William E. Petty, which is confirmed by the presentation inscribed case. The leather bound case features two silver presentation inscribed plaques on the exterior of the lid. The first plaque reads, “Presented/TO/ACTING CAPTAIN/William E. Petty/BY THE MEMBERS OF THE FORCE/OF THE NINTH PRECINCT/N.Y. Sept. 20th 1897.” The "Report of the Police Department of the City of New York" for the year of 1904 lists 19th century champion shooter William E. Petty as serving with the New York City Police Department from May 5, 1884 until his retirement on May 25, 1904. Other period records show him as participating in shooting competitions as well as identified as "the instructor in revolver practice of the entire police force of New York City." Petty is quoted in Richard Zacks' "Island of Vice: Theodore Roosevelt's Quest to Clean Up Sin-Loving New York" (page 220-221) expressing his dismay over the lack of proper weapons training received by New York City police officers in the late 1880s. For Petty it was imperative that his students received only the best revolver training: "A trained marksman can disable a man where a bumbler might kill." The second presentation plaque on the exterior of the case reads, “Presented from Capt. Petty/and presented to its President and Benefactor/J.A.L. MOLLER/The Rifle and Revolver Club of New York/OCTOBER 1929.” “American Rifleman, Volume 62” lists J.A.L. Moller as a member of the Rifle and Revolver Club of New York as well as a competitor in match target shoots (pages 52 and 154). J.A.L. Moller’s identity is also confirmed in the December 12, 1932 edition of “The Herald Statesman,” a Yonkers, New York, newspaper. Again, Moller is listed as a champion of the Rifle and Revolver Club of New York shooting team. Both revolvers are held in the French fitted interior of the lid. The revolvers are secured in place with a hinged and clasped cover. The body of the case is fitted with a large wooden cartridge block with an empty cavity in the center.

Rating Definition:

Excellent as New York retailer engraved, retaining 97% of the blue finish with slight thinning on the grip straps and minimal light spotting. The engraving is crisp. Nearly all of the case colors remain on the hammer and trigger guard. The grips are also excellent with minimal handling marks and highly attractive fiery colors. Mechanically excellent. The extra barrel retains 97% plus of the blue finish. The case is very good with wear and handling/storage marks on the exterior and some typical high spot wear on the lining. A fabulous presentation cased matched set of S&W New Model No. 3 Target revolvers owned by one of the pre-eminent marksmen of the late 19th century and early 20th century.



B) Smith & Wesson New Model No. 3 Target Revolver

Manufacturer: Smith & Wesson
Model: New Model No 3
Type: Revolver
Gauge: 44 S&W Russian
Barrel: 6 1/2 inch solid rib
Finish: blue
Grip: pearl
Stock:
Item Views: 726
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 93
Class: Antique
Description:

As described in "A." Provenance: The Dr. Gerald Klaz Collection

Rating Definition:

Excellent as New York retailer engraved, retaining 97% plus blue finish showing slight thinning on the grip straps and limited light spotting. The engraving is crisp. Nearly all of the case colors remain on the hammer and trigger guard. The grips are also excellent with minimal handling marks and highly attractive fiery colors. Mechanically excellent. A rarely encountered, high condition matched set of consecutively serialized exhibition quality engraved New Model No. 3 Target Revolvers with extra 8 inch barrel that would be impossible to improve upon! Just a stunning piece of 19th century firearms artistry!



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